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ERIC Number: EJ868030
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec-9
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0277-4232
Motives of 21st-Century-Skills Group Questioned
Sawchuk, Stephen
Education Week, v29 n14 p18-21 Dec 2009
Depending on whom one asks, "21st-century skills" can mean different things: technology literacy, the ability to analyze and apply knowledge, a knack for working effectively with colleagues in teams. In what is probably its most visible form for educators, though, the term refers to the work of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the Tucson, Arizona-based public-private initiative that has put the provision of all those skills at the center of its agenda. Known as P21, the group claims 14 member states as working to foster the adoption of new academic-content standards, professional training, and assessments aligned with those skills. But after seven relatively quiet years of work, P21 is facing a vocal chorus of detractors of its initiative, primarily from among advocates for a liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Recently, those critics have leveled a more serious charge at the organization. P21, they allege, is a veiled attempt by technology companies--which make up the bulk of the group's membership--to gain more influence over the classroom. For Ken Kay, the president of P21, such criticism amounts to a "cheap shot" by those who do not believe that the education system should be more responsive to business needs. Whether P21 can successfully convince skeptics of its good intentions remains an open question. Concerns about a lack of specificity in its materials are no longer the sole province of core-content advocates, but also now include educators in the career and technical education arena. In the meantime, P21 itself remains popular among educators, in no small part because of the influence of its two education partners, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) and the National Education Association (NEA).
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A